Dromore Vs Clonoe

A dark and damp Healy Park was the venue for the biggest day in the 2011 Tyrone club football calendar as Dromore took on the mighty Clonoe in the Tyrone Senior Football Championship final …. a repeat of the well documented 2008 final which Clonoe won by 1 point.

Having seen Dromore progress from their first round championship tie against Moy, to the skin-of-the-teeth draw against Ardboe, the victorious replay against Ardboe and then onto their semi-final master-class against Omagh St Endas, I was confident that Dromore would win this game too but opinions were split across the county …… would the O’Neill Cup be going to East Tyrone or to West Tyrone!? Nobody could say for certain!

There wasn’t the same crowd to see this clash as previous finals…. perhaps down to money, the rain, the live coverage on BBC radio or perhaps people stayed at home to watch the repeat of the previous night’s X-Factor, who knows! But the 4,500 or so people who did turn out were treated to another classic final.

Eugene Mc Connell was introduced as the ref replacement, following a trip up from Eamon McHugh, and the game got back underway. Dromore dominated the first half and went in at half-time 0-06 to 0-03 up thanks to scores from Eoin Mc Cusker, Sean O’Neill and Paddy Montague. Clonoe were disappointing in the first half but did manage to go in only 3 points behind.

Dromore continued the second half as they finished the first as Ricey Mc Menamin got his name the score sheet but soon after Dromore captain Eoin Mc Cusker stepped up again and scores a goal for Dromore leaving it 1-07 to 0-03. Game over? Surely not!

The O’Rahilly’s men then stepped up and scored 2 goals in quick succession….. a scrappy goal mouth goal from Shane Coney followed by a glorious strike by Danny Mc Nulty (check the photos below!). The scoreboard read 2-04 to 1-07, a remarkable turnaround, but it was Niall Sludden that sealed victory for Dromore with a point in injury time ensuring the O’Neill returns to Dromore.

It was a great game of football played in awful conditions, especially the second half when the rain poured down and the natural light disappeared. This final meant a lot to Clonoe but after their 2008 defeat, it meant even more to Dromore. Maith thú An Droim Mór!

Below are some of my photos from the game….

Match referee Eamonn Mc Hugh tosses the coin as Clonoe captain Emmett Teague and Dromore captain Eoin Mc Cusker look on.

 

The Clonoe O’Rahilly’s players and management observe a minute’s silence. 

 

Midfield action from the game.

 

 

Colm Mc Cullagh surges ahead of Clonoe’s Aidan Brady.

 

Eoin Mc Cusker scores Dromore’s goal in the second half. 

 

David Hanna bursts through the Dromore defence.

 

Shane Coney suddenly storms past Dromore goalkeeper Peter Ward…. 

 

… and scrambles the ball into the back of the Dromore net despite the best efforts of Ricey Mc Menamin and Fabian O’Neill! This was my favourite photo of the day… nearly missed it though as it all happened so quickly and it was difficult to get the camera focused in on the action in time. As you can see, it was VERY mucky around the goal mouths in Healy Park! 

 

Minutes later Clonoe’s Danny Mc Nulty made a darting run forward and put the ball into the back of the Dromore net again… 

 

Danny celebrates his goal…. the tide was turning for Dromore.

 

Stephen Mc Nulty looks for options for Clonoe. 

 

Sean O’Neill exchanges words with Danny Mc Nulty. 

 

Well known referee and Dromore club man Martin Sludden celebrates with manager Paul Mc Ivor at the final whistle. 

 

Eoin Mc Cusker lifts the O’Neill Cup in the air. 

 

Fellow college mate Sean O’Neill celebrates in the changing rooms after the game. 

 

Manager Paul Mc Ivor reveals his pre-championship prediction sheet to the players. 

 

The Dromore panel celebrate in the changing rooms after becoming champions of Tyrone senior football for 2011.

 

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